Effects of Firm Size on Risks and Reporting of Elevation Fall Injury in Construction Trades

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Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

Summary Statement

An abstract of research on the relationship between falls and the size of the construction company indicating that much more emphasis needs to be focused on safety in smaller companies.

From the Division of Safety Research, Department of Epidemiology and Work Environment Surveillance, National Institute of Occupational Health, Copenhagen, Denmark (Dr Kines, Dr Mikkelsen); and Division of Construction Engineering and Management, Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark (Dr. Kines).

Address correspondence to: Pete Kines, PhD, National Institute of Occupational Health, Lersø Parkallé 105, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark; E-mail address: pk@ami.dk.


Although many occupational safety programs are targeted toward large firms, the construction industry is dominated by smaller firms. This study examines the differential effect of firm size on the risk and the reporting of over 3000 serious and minor nonfatal elevation fall injuries in Danish construction industry trades (1993 to 1999). Small firms (<20 employees) accounted for 93% of all firms and 55% worker-years. there was an inverse relationship between firm size serious injury rates a direct minor rates. severity odds ratios (serious versus minor) found carpentry, electrical work, general contracting, the remaining other trades. health safety issues, legislation, enforcement in construction industry should, to greater degree, be focused on smaller firms.